• Recording vocals
  • Started by Kellyanneg
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Recording vocals
on: April 09, 2019, 20:09:58
Ok, I'm working on my first audacity project, and I'd love to hear some advice from you guys.  I'm working on the vocals (recording) and when I sing the chorus I get louder obviously, but it gets too loud for the recording, as in distorted loud.  So I back away from the mic (I'm not yelling, I guess I just sing loud lol) but when played back, you can hear that distance from the mic, compared to the verses.  Should I sing the whole song with distance from the mic, then work on amplifying the softer parts?? I'm singing it with no effects which is new to me too, so I'm getting used to that. The actual way to sing while recording vocals is the core question.  Thanks!!  :)
Do what makes your heart sing :)


Re: Recording vocals
Reply #1 on: April 09, 2019, 22:12:36
I  don't record on audacity, but I do use it for finishing touches, I found this video quite helpful maybe you will too,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=21&v=nNCebmcvrxA

Also there is a free down loadable program called  Levelator .  I've found that the more I do stuff to  fix  my recording the worse it  gets, so hopefully yours don't need too much fixing.

Vince
 


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Re: Recording vocals
Reply #2 on: April 09, 2019, 23:02:40
« Last Edit: April 10, 2019, 02:37:12 by Mar T. »
Hi @Kellyanneg , what you're describing is called the 'proximity effect' of the mic and you couldn't have descibed that more perfectly!
As always in music creation it comes down to choices. So again there's no right or wrong answer to your question.

For a lot of artists nowadays (in commercial every-day radio music) I hear they're singing very softly and keep the exact same distance to the mic. Well, that works, as long as you don't sing too loud or too soft (in that case there's little dynamic range in the voice, every word sounds equally loud in loudness).

On the contrary, I'm a more expressive singer (and I think you're in that same category, I remember writing a comment about that expressiveness earlier to one of your songs, I think it was 'Drive'). So when I sing softly I move towards the mic, and when I sing louder I move away from the mic. And yes, that's audible, although I always try to find the sweet 'range' of distance, where the proximity works in my advantage and doesn't limit me too much in my expressiveness. But I do have to limit my expressiveness anyways using this technique or I'll run into boundaries.

The choice of mic is very important here. I bought a not too expensive ($150) Røde large diafragm mic. Options will be better if you invest thousands of $ into eg a Neumann mic and a premier dedicated mic-pre-amp. I decided to ajust my singing to my limited options (cheaper gear). I'll upgrade once I'm in the top-10  ;)

To get rid of most of the proximity issues (that work in a singers' DISadvantage), I use a physical reflection filter on my mic stand, example: https://www.bax-shop.nl/microfoon-reflectiefilter/devine-rf-10-reflectiefilter?gclid=CjwKCAjwhbHlBRAMEiwAoDA341pMk0vjd2yV0k2i3G1V_e4cZN5H9uZWKWLafoAkyJTOvMDwrtkephoC_oYQAvD_BwE

The technique @Vince refers to (great find, Vince, specifically for Audicity) is more a post-recording trick to smooth out the differences if wished for. But I'll always go for 'natural' recordings first, and only correct that after recording, if necessary.

May I also gently ask what kind of mic you're using to record and how you connected it to your computer? And what audio interface do you use? Maybe the input gain is set too high so the recorded audio clips too fast..

Cheers!
Mar T.
:mart: 

EDIT: My usual disclaimer, I need to re-read and re-iterate to completely make my point. I hope in the end this post is helpful to you!


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Re: Recording vocals
Reply #3 on: April 10, 2019, 11:05:07
In DAW recording you don't need to record at the level that you intend the vocal to be at in the mix. Set your preamp gain low enough that you capture everything without any distortion at all. You can add gain the the track in your DAW.  This the single most important thing that I learned about recording.

Mic technique is also so important. Watch how the pros do it live.....they are always backing away just enough at times when they need to let loose.

Welcome to the rabbit hole.  8)
"The main thing is to have a gutsy approach....but use your head." Julia Child

 "In a world of robotic conformity, the only originality left in music is the imperfections" Eric Craptone

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Re: Recording vocals
Reply #4 on: April 10, 2019, 12:41:09
@Vince hello and thank you! That video  shows EXACTLY what I was trying to do yesterday but I didn't know what it was called so I could look it up in my newly purchased audacity manual, which I'm beginning to contemplate throwing out the window. Thank you very much!
@Mar T. All of those things you mentioned...my husband and I were literally at the music store last night looking at mics, and they had a set up with a reflection filter and I pointed to it saying I need one of those.( I did get a new mic stand, as my old one wasn't handling the duct tape well :lol: ) as far as the interface goes, @Layerson was a huge help guiding me with all of that, but as of now I'm using my mixer. We have my son's bday and mother's day coming so we are wanting to take care of those events first. My mic now is a shur p58 or something like that. (Ill pick up on this terminology as I progress lol) also, input gain too high....i may very well have the input volume on audacity too high?? Thank you!!
 @Leonard Scaper yes I will check out some videos on recording vocals and backing away. I think you and Marty hit it right in that I need to work on that. Also, I'll turn down the input volume/gain...I think that's a culprit too. All of you guys answered what I was asking spot-on. Thank you!!! So awesome.  :pompom: :ok:


Question 2... dry vocals
Reply #5 on: April 10, 2019, 17:41:27
Ok, so I am understanding it is imperitive to record vocals dry. Or is it??? :yes: :no:


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Re: Recording vocals
Reply #6 on: April 10, 2019, 20:28:34
« Last Edit: April 10, 2019, 20:35:39 by Mar T. »
Hi @Kellyanneg , yes, it's possible your input gain is too high. I'm not sure though if it can be ajusted in Audacity. If not: you say you're using a mixer to route audio to your computer.  Does the mic go through that mixer? In that case you can use the mic fader on the mixer to decrease the input..
Btw, dynamic mics like your shure pg58 are more often used at stage performing live instead of home-recording. Not that this is wrong (I started with a dynamic mic as well). But if you're going to search for a new mic (like you say, after all family ceremonies are completed) I'd suggest you also have a look at/try a large diaphragm mice like the Rode NT1a (here it is in a Dutch online shop: https://www.bax-shop.nl/grootmembraan-condensatormicrofoons/rode-nt1-a-studiomicrofoon-complete-vocal-recording-solution ). You can mount it on your regular mic stand.. And I'd get a reflection filter as well ;-)

Ok, so I am understanding it is imperitive to record vocals dry. Or is it??? :yes: :no:
Haha well it's not forbidden to record them wet, but it's common practice to record them dry. In that way you can always change, add or remove effects (like reverb, delay, compression etc) afterwards. That's the short answer. There's more: recording your tracks dry (also the instruments) gives you the opportunity to put all instruments/voice in the same space (using a bit of reverb), so that it seems like all instruments are played in the same virtual room (which is just apart of the longer answer).

I hope this helps a bit.. Starting up a music creation hobby can be a bit overwhelming.. ;-)


Re: Recording vocals
Reply #7 on: April 10, 2019, 21:07:17
@Mar T. Hi Marty!  Yep, it's overwhelming.   :-\  I need explanations for the explanations!  :doublebonk:  You tube and google are much more helpful than my beloved book.  Yes, my mic goes through the mixer, which is very basic - reverb, treble, bass and volume for each channel.  My  husband is helping me piece it together and I just need to keep diving into it!  Hands-on is the best way for me to learn.  What is a reflection filter?  And my vocal track sounds horrible!! lolol  Thanks for the link, btw.  I'll check it out!  While at the music store we found one we are interested in (for studio recording) that's within our price range, the guitar center guy recommended, yada yada…lol   I need more coffee and I think I'll write a bit and take a breather!!  Thanks a bunch, Marty!!  :thumbsup:


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Re: Recording vocals
Reply #8 on: April 10, 2019, 22:55:47
Haha @Kellyanneg , you do need a coffee break...
The reflection filter is the thingy I talked about in my first reply in this thread, the thing you also saw at the music shop ;-)


Re: Recording vocals
Reply #9 on: April 10, 2019, 23:03:56
@Mar T. Thats funny! Didn't you call it something else?? Lol foam guard or something?  :lol:  I'm laughing!


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Re: Recording vocals
Reply #10 on: April 10, 2019, 23:07:42
Hey haha from the 3rd post in this thread:


... I use a physical reflection filter on my mic stand, example: https://www.bax-shop.nl/microfoon-reflectiefilter/devine-rf-10-reflectiefilter?gclid=CjwKCAjwhbHlBRAMEiwAoDA341pMk0vjd2yV0k2i3G1V_e4cZN5H9uZWKWLafoAkyJTOvMDwrtkephoC_oYQAvD_BwE ...


 :pompom: So grab that cup of coffee, promised? Haha  :pompom:


Re: Recording vocals
Reply #11 on: April 10, 2019, 23:13:52
@Mar T. See! "Physical"..."foam" they sound alike! Ba ha ha :lol:  coffee's brewing!


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Re: Recording vocals
Reply #12 on: April 10, 2019, 23:16:28
Hahahaha lol...  :lol: :lol: Have a fantastic day @Kellyanneg !! Cheers!



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